Oracle is amassing an impressive collection of data and data-enrichment capabilities for marketing and more, but will analytics-as-a-service be the next battleground?

Oracle held its Oracle Cloud Summit (analyst) and Oracle CloudWorld (customer) events in New York this week at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, and I must say I came away impressed. What got me really excited, however, was the burgeoning Oracle Data Cloud.

You have to be impressed with the breadth and depth of Oracle’s cloud offerings. The Software as a Service (SaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) suites are comprehensive, and the newer Infrastructure as a Service portfolio is filling out quickly.

@Oracle, #analytics

The Oracle Data Cloud currently addresses marketing use cases, but the company plans to
address sales, service, commerce, loyalty and other data-enrichment opportunities.

As for Oracle SaaS, it’s not just the collection of apps that makes the suite attractive. The apps are all built on Oracle PaaS, so customers can use PaaS-based Identity, Integration, Process, Document, Sites and Social services to unify, customize and extend whatever collection of cloud-based apps they choose.

For now the Oracle Data Cloud is tied exclusively to marketing apps. The Data Cloud lets you bring in your CRM customer file and get a better understanding of what your customers do on other sites and on competitor’s sites based on insights from second-party and third-party data. You can also model and predict customer behavior based on this holistic view, not just the customer’s limited interactions with your company. Most importantly it helps you find lots of promising prospects that match the profile and behavior patterns of your best customers.

The Data Cloud stats are impressive. It offers demographic, social, online behavior and offline transactional data. That includes more than 1 billion global consumer profiles and data on 110 million U.S. households and 10 billion transactions worth more $3 trillion. That’s big.

I took note of Oracle Data Cloud and the company’s Data-as-a-Service (DaaS) strategy coming out of last year’s Oracle Open World. Earlier this month Oracle added yet more data with its acquisition of AddThis, which handles audience behavior tracking and content recommendations for websites.

Oracle made it clear this week that its ambitions for data enrichment extend beyond marketing. “Over time, applications will be differentiated based on richness of the data,” said Oracle’s President, Thomas Kurian. He specifically cited sales, service, commerce and loyalty management as future areas of interest for data enrichement.

So the long-term vision is broad and ambitious, but I don’t think we’ll see Oracle Data Cloud services moving much beyond marketing in 2016, as there’s much to do just in that domain. For starters, Oracle will have to digest the AddThis acquisition, brining that data into the Data Cloud. But beyond that, Oracle execs tell me they’re working on beefing up social data services and B2B data services, areas where Salesforce has strength. And there are new types of data that Oracle wants to bring into the mix, most likely before it gets into new application areas.

Oracle also has to keep its eyes on competitors including Amazon, IBM and Microsoft, among others, that are working on analytical services as well as data services. Given the scarcity of data-science talent and the pressure to act on data in a timely way, many companies may want to skip the challenge of data blending and in-house analysis and buy insights as a service.